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Tulsa system shutdown alters 'backside operations', ransomware attack still being investigated

Posted at 6:43 PM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 16:23:05-04

TULSA, Okla. — City of Tulsa employees are adapting to an offline work-life. Malware was detected and a ransomware attack was announced over the weekend.

READ MORE: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The City of Tulsa's ransomware attack

The city is in the recovery process now, but systems still are not functioning. So, public safety departments have had to make some changes.

Tulsa firefighters and officers continue to serve as they wait on IT teams to finish testing the city’s systems. The tests will take some time.

“We have multiple computers all linked together. We’re talking about hundreds if not thousands of different types of connections that the city is looking into right now,” Captain Richard Meulenberg said as he explained the situation from the Tulsa Police Department.

The city has around 4,500 machines connected to various online systems. IT teams are working long hours to make sure none of them are at risk of a data breach.

“Scanning computers and just doing everything they can to make sure this threat is out of the way and that we can get back to the city business that we want to do,” said Andy Little, public information officer for the Tulsa Fire Department.

Workflow suffers a bit while technology gets a checkup. Meulenberg describes it as “an efficiency problem”. Officers have reverted to handwriting crime reports.

“We haven’t even taught paper report writing in our academy for a while because of our reliance on digital,” he said. “It is more efficient to do it digitally and we need to do it digitally for our process.”

They are also literally running paperwork over to the courthouse.

“Instead of digitally moving paperwork, we have officers assigned to physically take these documents where they need to go,” Meulenberg said.

Residents also can not get copies of reports right now.

For Tulsa Fire, the impact of the ransomware attack is mainly on communication. They are using the radio system more, listening closely for addresses, and using map books for help, when needed.

“That's something that these drivers are still required to do,” Little said. “They’re required to study the area and know where they’re going.”

Because of the technical difficulties, TPD is not investigating non-injury traffic collisions.

What has not changed is how police reports are filed. Residents can still do that online for non-emergencies.

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